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Which Distro for Web server

Posted on 2006-07-05
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I need to setup a small, low traffic production web server where security is the main concern. Which distro's should I consider? I am a Linux newbie, and I am very weak with the command line interface so hopefully there is a decent distro with a GUI. Thanks
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Question by:comtekso
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pjedmond earned 2000 total points
ID: 17045313
Which distro you choose is probably not that important as the majority of the distributions have an Apache webserver included in the distribution (and some form of GUI). Unfortunately, it is the way of Linux, that you need to do a little configuring with a text file, or occassionally work from the commnand line. There is a huge list of distros (most of which include apache) here:

http://distrowatch.com/

In order to minimise the amount of work that you need to do, I recommend that you use a 'server quality distro'. This means that the distribution is supported at each version for a longer period of time, which means less upgrades and associated disruption. In particular, any of the RedHat clones (particularly CentOS, LEL or WhiteBox) are ideal:

http://linuxmafia.com/faq/RedHat/rhel-forks.html

With respect to security, these distros are compatable with the commercial RedHat security patches which get release as and when necessary. The other major aspect relating to security is to minimise the amount of software that you install on the machine. This is relatively easy to customise in the RedHat install process, although 'how secure' you need to be is debateable for your situation.

With respect to configuration and making it easy, there is a very nice tool called Webmin:

http://www.webmin.com

which provides a reasonably helpful Web interface to enable you to configure your Web server.

You could of course take out a subscription for RedHat Enterprise Linux if you feel that you need the support and help, which would mean that you have commercial support if you need it. In addition if you work with one of the aforementioned RHEL clones then your skills are directly transferrable.

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